Release Date: July 13, 2006
Systems: PS2, PSN, PSP*
Metacrtic Score: 89
It’s often said that the worst crime entertainment can commit is too be boring. An audience can live with bad effects, bad writing and, in some cases, even a bad finished product. The one thing we can’t deal with, is being bored. But what about being out of place? What about being superfluous? What about the games and movies and books that are there, regardless of quality, that simply don’t need to exist? When “Bioshock” was made to tell a complete story, were we wrong to criticize “Bioshock 2” for adding on a needless extension regardless of how good the game play may or may not have been? In the end, that is going to be up to you, but I wasn’t quite feeling it this time.
The Answer takes place just a few months after the events of the main game (called “The Journey” in the main menu). With the Main, nameless character from the man game dead, most of the group is looking to simply movie on with their lives. So much so, that when they all learned that the dorm they shared was not only going to be closed, but also demolished a few chose not to show up.
Aigis, a human-like machine made to battle shadows, has been struggling with the question of her own humanity, pondering what she is too do now that she has served her function. As the hours wast away for the few party members who stayed to say goodbye to their old dorm the clock soon strikes midnight…and the day starts all over again. While the Dark Hour is gone, the group soon finds themselves trapped in their dorm while the rest of the world simple repeats the day gone by. Before anyone has a real chance to even ask what’s going on, an unknown door leading to the dorm basement swings open, and we meet Metis. Metis is another humanoid machine made to battle shadows, who came to warn her “sister” Aigis that the root of the issue with time is coming from the dorm basement. The group decide to take a long, and find nothing bu a huge desert and several doors. The team decides to get back together and explore, hoping to find the cause of this, and deal with it.
The fact is, the story here was never going to be as good as the one in the main game, even with the much faster pace. This was, after all, a short fallow-up, it wasn’t meant to re-write the P3 rule-book. The issue comes in that all the story bits, from what I played, are simply superfluous. For example, in the main game one of your party members joins to find out who killed his mom. He knows it was a persona user, but no one else believed that a monster killed his mother, so he was left alone to investigate. In “The Answer” there is a flash back to when that party member is at the police station, having to deal with the fact that the police don’t believe his story. The question then becomes: what’s the point of this sequence? We don’t gain any new understanding of the character here, as this is just retelling us information we already knew, so why is it here? Sure, this fits the tone of the main game and it’s as well executed in anything in the main game, but there is no reason to go through this. 8Tt And that’s “The Answer” in a nutshell. Not bad, but superfluous. You may get more enjoyment from the story that I did, but I found myself annoyed as I waited for something new.
In my review for the main game I said the biggest game play draw was time management. Deciding who to hang out with, when to go level grind, when to work on non-combat stats, this was what made the act of playing “Persona 3” so enthralling. That is not the case here. None of that is even present here, instead replaced with more dungeon crawling. In the “desert of doors” there are five or so doors, each containing a new dungeon, each with at lest one boss and, at the very end, a door that leads to more of the story. So, what is the big game play draw? Well, it’s meant to be challenge, as the battles are much harder, but this is the worst kind of difficult I’ve played in a long time.
Just like in the main game, most of the enemy’s you fight have a weakness of some sort witch you can exploit to gain an additional turn. For example, if an enemy is weak to ice attacks, and you hit them with one, they are knocked down and who ever hit them with the attack can attack again. However, almost every enemy in the answer also had “Dodge ____” against whatever they were weak too. Because of this, you can use an attack you know will work against an enemy several times only to miss with each attack. This alone would have only been a minor annoyance, but it’s not the only issue. Not by a long shot. I found that not only was I missing more, but the enemy could take more damage than before, making them harder to kill, while dealing far more damage, killing me and my team much faster. In my time with the game I constantly felt like I was in a dungeon a few levels too high for me and no amount of level grinding helped as I too often was hit with an instant death, and like in the main game, when you die, the game ends.
But you want to know the kicker? In the main game you had a chance to go regain Heath and SP before engaging in a boss fight while in Tartars. Here, you have to beat the bosses before you can unlock the door that acts as a check point for each dungeon, meaning you have to fight the boss with however much Health and SP you have upon entering the floor, with is often 6-8 floors down. This means if you want to have full health and SP, you have to leave the dungeon and run through 6-8 floors that change every time you leave and pray you can avoid getting into any fights, witch you will because you will inevitably take a wrong turn and have to back track through a floor to fined the stairway.
I don’t mind a challenge, but it has to be done right. A good challenge punishes you for not thinking, for acting impulsively. A good challenge teaches you how to get better. The challenge here feels more like i’m losing because the game wants me too. In my time with “The Answer” I felt like I was playing a game of “D&D” with a DM who simply hated me. It felt like I missed because the game wanted me too miss and I died so often because the game didn’t want me to win. This was so frustrating that it even dulled the pride I got from winning. I wasn’t over coming something, I was just lucky, and if you are going to build your game around challenging the player, luck cannot be a factor in victory.
Game Play: 2.5/5
Music and Sound:
If nothing else, at lest the voice acting is on par with the main game. As far as I can tell all the voice actors from the main game reprise their roles for this, and like I said before they all did a really good job. I still wish I had the ability to switch out the English voice cast for the Japanese, but I can’t complain about it too much.
Music and Sound: 4/5
Over all Score: 3/5
Who is this game for:
If you buy “Persona 3 FES” off the PSN you’re going to get the answer, so it’s worth giving a look if for no other reason that to see the content you paid for, but I don’t see anyone getting anything out of the experience other than hardcore P3 fans. If “Persona 3” is your all time favorite game, then maybe you’ll find something here I didn’t. For every one else, just stick to the man game, you’ll be much happier.